AWD VS. FWD – What’s The Difference?


When it comes to driving in the snow, is there a big difference between an AWD car vs. a FWD? I’m interested in a small SUV and don’t know whether this will be a deal breaker in choosing a model. I’ll have a teenage driver in a year and want something safe.
– Alexis
Rhode Island


Dear Alexis –
Yes, there’s a big difference. All-wheel drive means that power is given to all of the vehicle’s wheels, rather than just the front two (in front-wheel drive) or back two (in rear-wheel drive). In cases where snow, ice or wet roads make traction difficult, the all-wheel drive system will give extra power to the wheels it senses are spinning. The vehicle then has four wheels, each given individual power, to use to pull out of a slippery situation, rather than just two. Spinning wheels are unsafe and can lead to skids and spin-outs.

If you live in a snowy area, and you want to give your teenager a little extra security, an all-wheel drive vehicle isn’t a bad idea. Check out the Ford Escape, the 2012 Honda Crosstour and 2012 Honda CR-V, the 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan and the Toyota Rav-4.

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